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Archive for June, 2011

Joy Center

In every moment, you are free to choose to discover new avenues to joy.              Abraham-Hicks

I believe in joy.  I believe that deep inside of us there is a bubbling, overflowing, rapturous wellspring of joy, and that it is up to each of us, if we so choose, to find our connection with this energy, again and again and again.  I do this in yoga, session after session, week after week, year after year.  For eleven years now, I have taught yoga, and I still am amazed that it doesn’t matter how uptight or frazzled or unfocused or angry I am, the moment I place myself on that mat, the moment I settle in, close my eyes, I find my breath, my body, that route to my roots, to that wellspring of all-is-well-ness and joy. Every time.  I really do.

This experience on the mat, gives me the confidence, the knowing that I can find it off the mat as well, that no matter what circumstances are surrounding me, no matter what someone else is feeling, no matter what I am feeling, I can, in any moment, choose, if I so desire, to discover a new avenue to joy.

And that is what happened to me four years ago.  On a sweltering June afternoon, I found myself in a funk.  I was feeling stuck.  It wasn’t enough anymore to teach yoga part-time in my lovely studio in the basement of my husband’s dental office.  I needed to spread my wings, to find that something new.  And so, in the ninety-degree heat, in the heat of the moment, I took action.  I looked down at my cat, my fluffy white cat who loves to play and is good at connecting to her inner joy, and I said to her, “I am free to choose to discover new avenues to joy!”  Despite my funk, despite the heat, I said it over and over.  I said it as I chased her around the house, as she hid behind furniture, as she leaped up into the air.  And I as said it, as I shouted it, I began to feel better, and somewhere in the midst of that five minutes of cat-play and mantra-shouting, it came to me, a dream that I didn’t know I’d been dreaming for a very long time, it came to me in a flash. I knew what I wanted to do.  Suddenly, I remembered that we had a piece of property, wooded and enchanted, behind our house but open to another road for access, land that we never even thought about.  In that moment I knew that I was going to build a studio, my own yoga/creativity studio, a place where I would teach yoga and writing workshops, and tell my stories.  It came to me clear and whole and holy, just like that.

Little did I know, however, that a brainstorm on a sweltering June afternoon would grow so quickly into a glorious adorable New-England style cottage, that I would call it Joy Center, that it would be home for the whole community, a thriving living center with workshops and open mic nights and Sunday evening concerts and retreats, that four years after that initial flash of inspiration, it would be a beacon beckoning us all to play, a friendly reminder that there is always always a new avenue of joy for us to discover.  Little did I know that four years later, I’d be musing with all of you, from the Joy Center.

Welcome to Helen of Joy


Welcome to Helen of Joy: Musings from the Joy Center!

I love to write!  I love to feel the pen move across the page in big loopy letters, the way it connects me to body and breath.  I love to unleash what wants to be freed on a certain day, at a certain place, perhaps at my desk, or outside in a chair, or plopped down on the Black Rocks on the shores of nearby Lake Superior or in a café in a town or state or country that is new to me.  I love to be surprised by the reflections, the insights, the spark of a story I didn’t even know was in there.  I love to read my writing out loud, to breathe breath and voice into the words.

I love the practice of writing, and it is a practice for me, one that has grounded and stretched me and brought me joy for nearly thirty years.  It is this practice, and the reflections that fly from heart and mind and body through pen and onto the page that I bring to this blog, and that I share with you, the reader.

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